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Switching Specialties After the Match

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by medsurg, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. medsurg


    Apr 18, 2007
    Hi Everyone,

    I was hoping I could get some advice on my situation. I applied for both family medicine and surgery this year. After lots of interviews, I decided to only rank surgery and matched into a spot that was mid-low on my list and was pretty disappointed. However, just recently I finished an outpatient rotation that I absolutely loved and I am seriously reconsidering my decision to be a surgeon. I love the outpatient setting and the idea of being single forever if I stick with surgery is swirling around in my head. Does anyone have advice as far as trying to switch now vs. seeing how intern year goes before deciding to reapply to fp or even internal medicine?
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  3. Dr.McNinja

    Dr.McNinja Nobel War Prize Winner Moderator Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    You've got to be kidding me.
    You can switch, it is a violation of the match, but since you won't go through the match again, it doesn't matter to you. If anyone has an open spot, I'm sure they would love to have you. It is up to you.
  4. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio. Physician Gold Donor SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    I can't help but wonder why you're torn between two fields as different as surgery and FM. And, you're reconsidering your decision after only one outpatient rotation? Honestly, I think I'd give it a little more time, if I were you. Switching specialties at this point will be difficult, and it sounds like you really need to do some soul-searching before you make a major decision like that. There must be some reason that you chose surgery over FM in the first place...what happened to that?
  5. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    I agree with Kent: dual applications to FM and Surgery aren't something you see very often. Unfortunately, when you rank a program, you run the risk of actually matching. Considering the program was "only" mid-low on your list, it could be worse.

    At any rate, it seems a bit premature to break your contract and switch fields. That said, it is not uncommon for people who aren't competely sold on surgery to start their intern year or go even further in their training, only to decide its not for them. Anesthesia seems to be the field which draws the most surgeons, but even non-procedurally based fields do as well (I've seen Anesthesia, Path, IM, Rads and FM personally).

    What are the reasons you are considering such a change? Surely one outpatient rotation can't be it. Are you worried about a surgical residency?

    While concerns about a social life and finding a partner are not uncommon, it would be a bit unrealistic to think that being a surgeon means you are going to be single forever. You've been reading too many of my posts complaining that being a surgeon isn't a seller on the dating market!:laugh: There are truthfully lots of opportunities out there, especially since I am sure you are much easier to deal with than me.

    If it were up to me, I'd take some more time to really think this through and perhaps even start my surgical internship to make sure its not for me. After all, while you may have ranked the program lowish, you might find its really not as bad as you think. And if it is, you can always reapply next year for FM.
  6. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    on a topic this important, i would think you'd need more personal advice than can be obtained on SDN. talk to your family, friends, professors, advisors, clergy, whatever - and do a lot of soul searching. think about why you picked surgery to begin with, think about why you're reconsidering that decision, and think about the pros and cons of trying to switch. i would also recommend talking to your dean of student affairs ASAP. finding an open slot in family medicine is probably doable, and while it'll likely piss off the surgery program who's counting on your services for a year, i think we all (med students) owe it to ourselves to do what we're going to enjoy and be good at after working so hard to get where we are. best of luck to ya.
  7. 8744

    8744 Guest

    Dec 7, 2001
    Man, if you don't want to do surgery even before you start your residency you need to run, not walk, away from it as fast as you can. Continuing now would be like being in a bad relationship and getting married in the hopes it will improve things.

    Are you crazy?
  8. drtx

    drtx 5+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2007
    Wow...if you are having second thoughts now you better look into an unfilled FP spot (shouldn't be that difficult if you matched into Gen Surg) or reapply next year. Surgical intern year is definitely not for someone who may be happier elsewhere.
  9. fj25

    fj25 Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 8, 2005
    Hi OP, I understand how you feel. I had matched into Psych but then did a rotation in Neuro and really liked it. It had elements of both Psych and Medicine. I had exactly the same feelings as you afterwards.

    Please do not listen to the poster who questioned your sanity. That was very mean of that poster. I do not think you are crazy. It is a very hard decision to make, under alot of pressure, based on a limited amount of information.

    I suggest that you continue into the program. Try to relax into your decision. You may find that you really like it. Just like you did not know ahead of time that you would enjoy the FM rotation, the same thing may happen with Surgery. If there comes a point where you feel like you don't want to continue, speak your program director. As for now, try to enjoy your time going into it.
  10. Tired

    Tired Fading away 7+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    You never had an outpatient rotation until April of your MSIV year? Lucky you.
  11. GYN DOC

    GYN DOC 2+ Year Member

    Feb 16, 2007
    Another important thing to consider is that if you accept the Surgery position you will have CME funding for 5 years and you will be covered if you switch to FM later. But if you'd gone into family medicine first you would only have funding for three years and you'd have to find a surgery program willing to take a cut for you for the last 2 years. Also surgeons see patients in the outpatient setting.

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